Act of Valor
- Released: Thursday, 03 May 2012
- Runtime: 110 mins.
- Distributor: Roadshow Films.
The promotion for this film highlights the fact that several actual Navy Seals take the central roles. While their acting is no great shakes, they bring an authenticity to the many action sequences throughout the film. It does not disguise the fact that it is a piece of cinema propaganda for the Seals and their patriotic spirit and acts of valor for the United States – and may well attract quite a number of recruits. But, as with any program that takes a ‘hawkish’ stance and presents it with quite some gung ho relish, there are the perpetual questions about military methods and actions.
The film offers some moments of training but takes much of that for granted. It also focuses on the Seals in action after receiving intelligence about their mission, though the film does not show the workings of the intelligence agencies and how they come by their intel.
We are introduced to the group and learn a little about their backgrounds and their families. One of the Seals is married and his wife is expecting. Another does a voiceover, talking to the child about the character of his father, so we know there is going to be death and sadness.
The film opens with an act of terrorist barbarity in the bombing of some children and the American ambassador at a school in Manila. This sets the plot in motion for a war against drugs and against terror. The action sequences, signaled by an on-screen map with technical location details, take place in Costa Rica, Ukraine, off the African Coast and in Mexico.
Needless to say, seeing the Seals in action, has many exciting moments, especially a raid in Costa Rica against drug dealers to rescue an abducted agent. The main villain is a Ukrainian who is providing a childhood friend from Chechnya with a sophisticated, undetectable vest filled with ceramic pellets which will explode like shrapnel and intended for a group of suicide bombers in the principal American cities. The climax of the film is the search and destroy mission in Mexico for the leader and his suicide squad.
As always in this kind of story, we realise that the villains are unscrupulous, have many violent means at their disposal and that there are forces out there who are protecting us, involved in dangers on our behalf as we sit in the cinema and watch this kind of action drama.